Nose: I can feel the alcohol burning my nostrils, but fruit and citrus aromas emerge beyond the initial sting.
Palate: Spicy cinnamon, caramel, and maple syrup are followed by a sweet kick with intense fruit - raisins, plums, and apricots. There is quite a bit of wonderful, flavorful punch here.
Finish: A long lingering spicy-sweetness with a hint of black licorice. Leaves me wanting to take another sip every time.
Uniqueness: For me this is really a great whiskey and stands somewhat on its own. As an annual release with an estimated production of 8,440 bottles this year it’s certainly limited even if it is the easiest of the Antique Collection to find. Considering what’s on your liquor store’s shelves, there is very little, if anything to choose from in the barrel proof rye category. Not only that, the whiskey itself is delicious with few flavor profile comparable. Although some might disagree with me, the closest that comes to mind is Blanton’s Single Barrel, with the Blanton’s tasting like an extremely watered down version of this when sipped side by side. Specifically, the fruit and raisin elements are what I find to be similar between the two, while the spice elements are all but lost with the Blanton’s.
Value: At $70 a bottle it better be good. It’s not just good: it’s great. Also, it’s rare. This is absolutely worth picking up if the flavor profile is to your liking and you’re lucky enough to find a bottle. Act quickly though, you won’t see this on the shelf for long.
Overall: Wow! At only 6 years old and barrel proof this bold and youthful rye packs a spicy punch, yet it’s smooth enough to drink neat. I found myself savoring every sip of this and wanting another pour once I was finished. This one doesn’t hold back as the intensity and depth of flavor are anything but subtle. This is truly a remarkable whiskey, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates a rich, sweet, higher proof whiskey and isn’t afraid of a little spice.
To sum it up: Bold, Rich, Spicy, Fruity, Awesome
-Nick - Reviewed: 3/2014
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